U.S. Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced Thursday a civil settlement with Dave O’Mara Contractor Inc., an asphalt contractor based in North Vernon.
The settlement will result in a payment of $4.25 million to the United States of America, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana.
“The safety and security of the citizens of Indiana are paramount to this office,” Minkler said. “To risk the safety of the motoring public for the sake of saving money cannot be tolerated. This recovery sends the message that contractors must comply with various applicable state and federal regulations when billing the United States government or they will face the consequences of their choices.”
The settlement resolves allegations the company misrepresented materials it used to pave a number of roads and highways throughout central and southern Indiana, which were funded in part by the Federal Highway Administration.
Specifically, the government alleges the firm represented that it was including steel slag in its asphalt mixture when it was not.
According to the government, this created the false impression the roads Dave O’Mara provided contained enough binder, or “glue,” to ensure that they would not prematurely deteriorate.
“It is important to ensure that taxpayers get what they pay for so that the quality of products used in highway transportation projects is not compromised,” said Andrea M. Kropf, regional special agent-in-charge, U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General.
Rachana Fischer, the assistant U.S. attorney assigned to the case, said the settlement followed a multi-year probe by the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General in coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. The Indiana Department of Transportation also provided substantial assistance to the investigation.
The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only. There has been no determination of liability.
In October 2017, Minkler announced a strategic plan designed to shape and strengthen the district’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This investigation demonstrates the office’s commitment to enforce the collection of criminal and civil debts owed to the United States, he said.
To see the Section 6.4 of the plan, visit justice.gov/usao-sdin/StrategicPlan.